Padma Shri awardee and internationally acclaimed fashion designer Wendelle Rodricks passed away at his home in Goa's Colvale village, on Wednesday. His untimely demise has left the industry in shock and prominent personalities from all the quarters have offered their condolences. The designer was also an author, environmentalist and gay rights activist. Not just that, Wendell has also given Bollywood some of the best talents we have today! It was Wendell Rodricks who discovered Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Evelyn Sharma and Diana Penty.
The 'Chhapaak' actress Deepika Padukone made her debut with Farah Khan's 'Om Shanti Om'. Despite sharing the screen with Bollywood's Badshah Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika managed to grab eyeballs and went onto become one of the leading Bollywood actresses. Her scintillating performances in movies like 'Cocktail', 'Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela' and 'Tamasha' speak for the talent she possesses. However, it was because of fashion designer Wendelle Rodricks that Deepika Padukone's career kick-started.
For the uninitiated, Deepika Padukone was discovered by the late fashion designer during her modelling days. Deepika moved to Mumbai to try her luck in modelling and in the meantime, she also signed up for a workshop. According to reports, Wendelle and Deepika met there and the latter worked as a model for him for over two years. Impressed by the actress' dedication and sincerity towards work, the designer introduced her to the 'Chhaiyya Chhaiyya' girl Malaika Arora. And it was Malaika who suggested Farah Khan to consider Deepika Padukone for the role of 'dream girl' Shanti.
The designer also played a huge role in Anushka Sharma's career. Anushka Sharma made her debut in 2010, opposite Ranveer Singh in 'Band Baaja Baaraat'. Anushka's promising debut under the Yash Raj banner was possible only because of Wendelle Rodricks. The 'Zero' actress shared her story in a post on Instagram and revealed that it was Rodricks who discovered her. He had spotted Anushka at a fashion show in Banglore and offered her a show in Mumbai. Anushka also shared that it was he who encouraged her to move to Mumbai at the age of 18 to pursue modelling.
Giving Bollywood yet another beauty, he also discovered Deepika Padukone's 'Cocktail' co-star Diana Penty. Diana Penty was introduced to the fashion industry by Rodricks. The actress took to her Instagram and wrote, "My dearest Wendell, I can’t believe you are no longer with us. Indian fashion has just lost a pioneer, a visionary and a legend. You were the force that introduced me to the world of fashion over 10 years ago... believing in me more than I did in myself. I will never forget those times. Will miss you dearly. RIP in paradise"
'Fan' actress Walushcha De Sousa, the Goan beauty queen who was a part of the Miss India pageant made her Bollywood debut with Shah Rukh Khan. The actress and model penned down a heartfelt note on the demise of her mentor and wrote, "I owe everything I am today to you. You discovered me at the age of 16 in my uniform and you never let go of my hand after that. You will forever be fondly remembered, my friend and mentor. We have beautiful memories together and they will live on. I still cannot believe that you are gone but I pray that your soul rests in peace. I love you"
Evelyn Sharma is also one of the many talented beauties, discovered by Wendelle. The 'Mai Tera Hero' actress shared a series of pictures and wrote, "You believed in me before I did... you pushed me to become who I was meant to be... I loved being the muse of one of the greatest minds in fashion... your muse! You are very loved @wendellrodricks and we will always keep you in a special place in our hearts.. Thank you for your magic, your laughter, and for always having my back. Rest now, my dear friend... Sending my love and prayers to Jerome and your family"
Sophie Chaudary also revealed that it was Rodricks who picked her up from a 'bunch of girls' and said she would make it! She also thanked the designer for showing her love and kindness when she started her journey as a VJ.
The ace fashion designer was instrumental in reviving heritage clothes of Goa such as the Kunbi saree of the Kunbi tribals of Goa and also of bringing resort wear into the limelight.
The designer had also a cameo role in the film 'Boom' in 2003 and in Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Fashion' starring Priyanka Chopra in 2008.The popular designer had written several books on Goa including showcasing his love for Goan heritage.
Inputs from ANI.